For nearly 30 years, International Medical Corps has provided critical health services and improved the nutritional status of millions of people in need. In the face of conflict or natural disasters vulnerable populations deplete their physical assets‚ livestock, seeds, and household goods to survive. They struggle to pay for food, medicine, clothing and other goods critical to living a healthy life.

International Medical Corps' mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacities. To help communities move from relief to self-reliance and provide access to sustainable, quality health care, International Medical Corps understands the importance of improving livelihoods. We do this by rebuilding, expanding and diversifying assets, including human assets‚ knowledge and skills through education and training to create an income stream for households that permits them to defray the cost of improved health services.

International Medical Corps’ approach to livelihood support in emergencies takes three forms, each with a medical and non-medical component: 1) cash for work; 2) skills training; and 3) materials or resource support.   For our cash for work programs, International Medical Corps often hires local health professionals to fill critical gaps or local men and women as community health workers, who are instrumental in relaying health messages to their communities.  During emergencies, International Medical Corps also hires local workers to rehabilitate health clinics, schools or other community centers that have been damaged in the disaster. 

As a critical part of our livelihood support strategy, International Medical Corps provides skills training to both health professionals and people working in sectors that have been identified through needs assessments as having potential for earning income.  In non-health sectors, these skills trainings are varied according to market needs, including agriculture and farming, animal husbandry, light industry, tailoring, baking, hospitality, hairdressing, etc.  International Medical Corps also provides material and financial support to local businesses.  In most cases, this support is paid forward to the community through distribution of products to poor families or cash that is paid back into a revolving fund that is in turn loaned to another business. 

Examples of International Medical Corps' Livelihood Programs.